Homemade hummus is so easy to make and uses just a few simple ingredients. It’s also richer, healthier and more delicious than commercial varieties. This traditional hummus recipe or hummus bi tahini creates a smooth, nutty and nourishing dip or spread. Perfect for sandwiches, dipping, salads or as part of a mezze platter.
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I’m a bit shocked to find that I’ve not yet included a recipe for traditional hummus bi tahini on Tin and Thyme. I learned to make this delicious creamy dip when I first went to Egypt as a teenager. It’s eaten there on a daily basis and is a very important part of people’s diet. As is always the case, everyone has their own take on it and no bowl is exactly the same as another. So use this recipe as a base and adjust it to suit your own tastes.
What is Tahini?
Hummus is the arabic name for chickpeas. So hummus bi tahini simply means chickpeas with tahini. Tahini is a paste, much like peanut butter, only it’s made from toasted sesame seeds. It goes back a long way too. In fact it’s been made in the Middle East for centuries.
A jar of unopened tahini will last in a cool dark place for a good long time. The fridge, however, isn’t the best place for it as it’s too cold. This causes the tahini to thicken and it then becomes much more difficult to use. Once opened, it will be fine for a few weeks, but don’t keep it for months. The longer you keep it, the less delicious it will be.
One of the really annoying things about tahini is that it tends to separate out the longer it’s kept. You get an almost solid lump of paste at the bottom with a layer of oil at the top. So before you measure out tahini for a recipe or use it to spread on bread, you’ll need to give it a very good stir.
You don’t need olive oil in traditional hummus as tahini is already oily and rich in flavour. But a well flavoured extra virgin olive oil is traditionally used as a garnish and drizzled over the top.
Tahini sauce is delicious and it makes an excellent accompaniment to falafel. This is the tahini sauce recipe I use the most, though I also have one for a clementine tahini sauce. My sweet maple tahini sauce is very good on pancakes.
I use dark tahini as it gives a richer and fuller flavour. It’s also a whole food. Dark tahini is made with whole sesame seeds. As it includes the outer bran, it’s more nutritious, darker in colour and has a different flavour profile to light tahini. You should be able to find this in a good health food or whole food store.
But light tahini is much easier to get hold of and many prefer it. This is made from hulled sesame seeds. Look out for additions when you buy though. The best tahini should contain nothing except sesame seeds.
For those that prefer their food to be as unadulterated as possible, you can get raw tahini. This is made with untoasted sesame seeds.
Is Traditional Hummus Good for You?
Like anything, too much of a good thing probably isn’t. Hummus contains fat and carbohydrates, so it’s quite calorific. Homemade hummus, however, is a healthy food when you eat it in moderation. And it’s a lot healthier than the stuff you buy in the shops.
Traditional hummus contains no olive oil, so this recipe is not as calorific as many you’ll find. Despite this, I do recommend drizzling some olive oil over the top, which is the traditional way to serve it. A good quality extra virgin olive oil, adds additional flavour as well as a touch of lush indulgence.
Chickpeas and tahini are both highly nutritious. Chickpeas are not only high in protein but they’re a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. This makes them an excellent ingredient for vegetarians and vegans.
Sesame seeds have a different nutritional profile, but they’re also packed full of the good stuff. They’re high in beneficial monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats as well as protein, calcium and magnesium. In fact, tahini is widely seen as a superfood.
Eat traditional hummus with bread and you’ll get all the essential amino acids to ensure a complete protein profile. We like to eat it with wholemeal pitta or homemade flatbreads.
Traditional Hummus Bi Tahini
You only need five ingredients to make traditional hummus. If you don’t include water, salt and optional toppings that is. It’s incredibly easy to make, just blend the ingredients together until you have the texture you like.
Although some people prefer their hummus to have a bit of texture, it should really be as smooth as possible.You’ll need a good blender to make it really smooth though. A food processor will make a good hummus, but it will be a bit rougher. Traditionally, of course, you’d soak the chickpeas overnight, then cook them the next day. Sometimes I do this, it’s a lot cheaper than tinned and the chickpeas taste better. But these days it’s often more convenient to just open a tin.
I add cumin to my hummus recipe. It’s the Egyptian way and I really like it. If you’d prefer not to include it though, just leave it out.
There’s no olive oil in this traditional hummus recipe, but unless you’re trying to cut calories, do drizzle some over the top. As a final flourish, it’s also nice to scatter over a few chickpeas, roasted or plain. If you want to add olive oil, swirl the hummus to create ridges to hold it, then drizzle over the top. Alternatively, mix the oil with a teaspoon of smoked paprika before drizzling.
If you use tinned chickpeas, the actual weight of the drained chickpeas will vary. It very much depends on the brand you use. So the weights I’ve given in the recipe are approximate.
If you’re not going to eat your hummus straight away, it will keep covered in the fridge and will last for at least four days.
To avoid bloating and gas, it’s best to drain and rinse tinned chickpeas. Don’t throw that chickpea water away though. You can use it for a number of recipes and it makes excellent vegan aquafaba meringues. For some reason, they don’t seem to have any ill effects.
For the best tasting and least gassy experience, it’s a good idea to cook dried chickpeas from scratch. Make sure you soak them for at least twelve hours, though twenty four is even better. Rinse them well, then cover with water and cook them with a bay leaf. It will take between one to two hours depending on how old your chickpeas are.
The bay leaf helps to make the chickpeas more digestible. I sometimes use a piece of kelp seaweed instead, which has a similar effect.
A high speed blender will make the silkiest of smooth hummuses. And it will do it in double quick time. I use my Froothie Evolve* which I’m totally in love with. It has a glass jug, two in fact, and a wider bottom than most. If you want to find out more, you can read my Froothie Evolve review.
It can be difficult to scrape everything out of a jug blender. Even though the Froothie Evolve glass jugs are wider than previous versions, I still find it impossible to remove all of my hummus. As I can’t stand waste, I’ve come up with a solution.
Once you’ve removed as much of the hummus as you can, pour in hot water and add a little miso. Then blend. This is an excellent way of providing a mug or two of nourishing instant soup. It also cleans the blender. Win win, slurp slurp.
I add a mugful of water and a teaspoon of miso per person.
Additional Hummus Toppings To Use
Traditionally, olive oil is swirled over the top of hummus. Sometimes I’ll add smoked paprika to the oil before drizzling it over the top. But there are a number of other toppings you can use as well. Here’s a selection:
- Mix the olive oil with red chilli powder instead of paprika before drizzling it over the top
- Roasted chickpeas
- A dusting of sumac
- Chopped parsley or coriander leaves
- A sprinkling of za’atar
- Caramelised onions
Other Middle Eastern Recipes You Might Like
I also have a six course chocolate Middle Eastern dinner menu you might be interested in. It went down very well with my guests.
Keep in Touch
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you try this traditional hummus bi tahini, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Have you any hummus top tips? Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
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Traditional Hummus Bi Tahini – The Recipe
Traditional Hummus bi Tahini
This traditional hummus recipe creates a smooth, nutty and nourishing dip or spread. Perfect for sandwiches, dipping, salads or as part of a mezze platter. It contains no olive oil, but I recommend a good drizzle of extra virgin over the top.
Servings: 8 people
- 1 can chickpeas or 300g cooked chickpeas (100g dried) You may want to reserve a few for decoration.
- 2 garlic cloves – peeled and roughly chopped
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 lemon – juice & zest (organic or unwaxed is best)
- 2 tbsp tahini (I use dark tahini)
- 120 ml warm water
- 2 tbsp well flavoured extra virgin olive oil (optional)
Place all ingredients, except the water, into a blender or food processor. Blend until you have a course paste.
Add the water slowly and continue to blend until you have a smooth, but not runny consistency. You may not need all of the water.
Scrape the hummus into a bowl.
If using the olive oil, swirl the hummus to create ridges to hold the oil, then drizzle it over the top. Alternatively, mix the oil with a tsp of smoked paprika before drizzling. Scatter reserved chickpeas on top.
Keep it covered in the fridge and it should last for five days.
Please note: calories and other nutritional information are per serving. They’re approximate and will depend on exact ingredients used.
Calories: 119kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 103mg | Potassium: 199mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 14IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 2mg
I’m sharing this easy strawberries and cream summer dessert with Lost in Food for #CookBlogShare.
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